On November 16, 2012, the board of the Indiana Finance Authority (“IFA”), with Governor Daniels in attendance, based on the recommendation of Kendra York, IFA’s Public Finance Director, approved the preliminary selection of WVB East End Partners as the preferred proposer for the East End Crossing project, Indiana’s second foray into public-private partnerships as a solution to infrastructure planning for the State. The East End Crossing is Indiana’s part of the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project (the “ORB Project”). WVB East End Partners is a joint venture consortium of Walsh Investors, LLC, VINCI Concessions S.A.S. and Bilfinger Berger PI International Holding GmbH. The WVB East End Partners consortium proposes to contract with Walsh Construction Company and VINCI Construction Grand Projets as the builders, with Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. as the lead designer. VINCI Concessions S.A.S. will be performing the operations and maintenance of the East End Crossing for the thirty-five year operating term. Ms. York made the announcement at the historic Indiana Repertory Theater in downtown Indianapolis. Governor Daniels applauded the efforts of the proposer teams, emphasizing the success of several recent Indiana infrastructure projects, benefits of this project to the citizens of the State of Indiana and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
In early March 2012, Governor Daniels and Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the roles and responsibilities of each state in the “Ohio River Bridges Project,” of which the East End Crossing is one part. A week later, IFA issued a request for qualifications to develop, build, finance, operate, and maintain the East End Crossing under an availability payment concession structure. From release of the “RFQ” to the short-listing of four bidders, to submission of proposals by all four bidders, the procurement proceeded at a record pace of less than eight months. Governor Daniels specifically cited the rapid pace, resulting in a preferred proposer who offered a bid both under budget and ahead of schedule, as a success for public procurements and public-private partnerships.
The WVB consortium proposed maximum availability payments for the term of $32.9 million (2012 dollars) per year. Their proposal offered a construction price of $764 million, with planned substantial completion of the project by Halloween, 2016 – almost nine months prior to the date that the Indiana Department of Transportation had specified. IFA plans to execute the public-private (“P3”) agreement in mid-to-late December. Financial closing for the consortium is anticipated in late March, 2013.
Stay tuned for more about the success of this bi-state cooperative effort.